The holidays are now over for the Sohn family. The tree has been taken down, Kenny and Dolly have belted out their last tune for the season, the egg nog is well finished and the Christmas cake has been reduced to crumbs as we fight over the last tasty morsels.
Tomorrow, routine returns to our home as I'm sure it has to many of yours. In our family, it'll mean no more jammy-clad, lazy mornings, breakfasts that become brunch – and then lunch, endless snacking and guests with more goodies to share. Rather, it's back to the early morning breakfasts and the tying of school neckties before scooting out the door with lunches packed, hair combed and teeth brushed (I hope) in an effort to reach school before the bell rings.
It's pretty tough when the children have become used to a later bedtime, enjoying the relaxed nature where tomorrow and the next day are just another holiday.
My eldest had the hardest time tonight. She tossed and turned and tried her best at counting sheep, and then some.
After two hours of failed attempts to capture that elusive rest, frustration found its way into her room, at which point, she found her way into mine!
Like many of you, I have struggled on the odd occasion with insomnia. This was one of those times. Funny thing, normally I can fall asleep anywhere, as can my eldest. But tonight wasn't our night.
So I hatched a plan. I took my beautiful girl by the hand and said, "Don't worry, Lovely, I know just the thing to help you."
I brought her to the couch just off our kitchen, wrapped her in a blanket and prepared a cup of warm milk for her to sip on. I handed her the mug and slipped onto the couch beside her, allowing her to rest and relax into my arms. I sat stroking her hair and whispering 'I love you' into her ear. We didn't exchange many words, just a few from me to her in order to comfort her and let her know everything was okay.
I've always understood the mystery behind the cup of warm milk and its obvious effects on the human body. But now I've completed an even greater puzzle – a cup of warm milk provided by the comforting arms of a loved one, the stroking of hair and the applying of soft gentle words whispered into an ear, is the perfect panacea for the sleep-deprived. In no time, my eldest daughter was tucked up in her bed, dreaming of angels.
As we begin this year with our resolutions and our hearts filled with renewed hope, may I encourage you to keep your ears and eyes open, and know that somewhere along the path of 2009 someone in your home will need a cup of warm milk. Don't miss the moment.